Texting Makes Real-Time CRM a Reality for Hotels

By Matt Schvimmer Chief Marketing Officer, Zingle, Inc. | March 05, 2017

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a tried and true method of connecting with guests and customers across a number of platforms including websites, social media, apps, live chat, email and phone. Selecting a CRM software solution is notoriously laborious and the software itself has the reputation of being expensive and hard to implement. Hotels and hospitality organizations who operate at a local level, and thrive on the relationships they have in the community, need a nimble, real-time CRM solution to engage with their guests and be responsive to their service needs. Although mobile technology has certainly equipped hospitality teams with more on-the-go solutions such as apps and responsive websites, customer relationship solutions that are truly real-time for both the organization and the guest, have not been available.

The need for real-time CRM is definitely a product of today’s society. Today, people expect instant gratification and near instant responses from the companies and brands they interact with. A 24-hour response time is no longer acceptable for any inquiry, and of course in the high-demand environment of hospitality, response times are measured in minutes, not in hours.

The widespread adoption of texting and ubiquity of mobile devices has now made real-time CRM a possibility. Ninety-seven percent of texts are opened and read within the first three minutes. The benefits of this instant connection with guests are numerous. Hotels and clubs alike are experiencing benefits that include more personal and frequent engagement with guests, better operational efficiency, more income and the coveted goal of increased guest loyalty. Texting platforms are also scalable and approachable for 100-room properties or 1,000-room properties and beyond.

Personal, Ongoing Text Conversations Are Key to Guest Engagement and Decreased Calls
Texting allows you to interact with your guests in the moment and in a more conversational tone, while establishing two-way communication. An ongoing, threaded text conversation mimics how people interact with each other in their everyday lives, which also means that when guests are texting their hotel, restaurant or club they are building a more personal connection than ever before.

For example, Hotel Del Coronado, the 129-year-old legendary oceanfront beach resort located in San Diego, adopted texting as a real-time CRM tool last year. In less than four months, the number of texts they received from guests doubled, which reduced its inbound call traffic and response times. The efficiency of texting with guests is tremendous. Staff members using a texting platform can manage multiple conversations at once, compared to phone calls that last much longer and can only be managed one at a time. Since the record of the text conversation remains stored in a platform, other team members can pick up the same conversation when their shifts start. The customer records stay with the property, despite any staff turn-over that may occur.

Guests Relationships Thrive on Communications Continuity

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.